U.S. Cellphone Use: Texting, Retrieving Information Top Activities

On the same day that Google announced it was buying Motorola Mobility, Pew Internet told us that one-third of Americans now one a smartphone and that half of al cellphone owners use their phones to “get information they needed right away.”

Most of the headline writers focused on an inconsequential data point – people sometimes pretend to use their cellphones to avoid other people. Let’s look at the interesting data!

First: 83% of American adults own a mobile phone. Of those, 73% say that they have received or sent a text in the past month; that’s 61% of all American adults, an astounding change. Yes the demographic trends younger. And 50% more smartphone owners text than basic cellphone owners.

Second: the second-most common use of a cellphone today (after texting) is taking a photograph. As with texting, there’s a 50% difference between smartphone owners (92%) and cellphone owners (59%) who think of their phones as cameras. The first camera-phone combo was produced by Motorola and cost $500 in 2000 ($655 in 2011 dollars).

Third: having a device connected to the internet results in our using it for info retrieval. For smartphone owners, this is S.O.P. with 79% reporting this use; regular cellphone users, not so much (31%).

Landline subscribers peaked in 2000 in the U.S. Today we prefer the convenience of the mobile phone, the service that is minimally regulated; with 302.9 million subscribers (Dec 2010) usage has almost tripled in 10 years. The bulk is split between Verizon (104 million) and AT&T (97.5 million).

Read the full report (pdf).

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By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

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